Sweet Rocket

Romance Reviews, Author Profiles and More…


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Tiny Little Goodreads Review: Susanna and the Spy by Anna Elliott

Susanna and the SpySusanna and the Spy by Anna Elliott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Susanna and the Spy melds two of the romance’s best subgenres — the gothic and the traditional regency. While the book has the Napoleonic War setting and slow-burn sensuality of the Traditional Regency, it also features many of the conventions of the Gothic: woman in peril (in this case almost-governess, penniless Susanna), a family estate complete with unexplained deaths and a mixture of kind and not-so-kind family members, a dark, dangerous, very evocative hero and a mystery to tie it all together. It’s Victoria Holt crossed with Elisabeth Fairchild, what with Ms. Elliot’s fluid, lovely prose and the excellent story. You’ll love getting to know Susanna, and fall in love with James, the book’s hero, right along with her.

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Goodreads Review: Lady Elizabeth’s Comet by Sheila Simonson

Lady Elizabeth's CometLady Elizabeth’s Comet by Sheila Simonson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever read a book once, and thought meh, then went back again and found it a totally different book? That’s me and Lady Elizabeth’s Comet. 

Part of my problem when first reading Lady Elizabeth’s Comet was, unfortunately, Lady Elizabeth. Lady Elizabeth is as near to an anti-heroine as you’ll find in a Traditional Regency. She’s short-tempered and snobbish, often treating the hero (and various other characters in the book) unkindly or dismissively. Interested more in astronomy than the people around her, it seems amazing that Lady Elizabeth could somehow attract not one but two suitors, her father’s heir, Tom Conroy, Lord Clanross, and Clanross’ close friend, Lord Bevis.

But as it turns out, some of the same pejoratives I applied to Lady Elizabeth applied to me as a reader, at least on my first go round with Lady Elizabeth’s Comet. If you stick with the book long enough to make friends with Lady Elizabeth, you’ll find she’s also funny and smart, and eventually all-too-aware of her own shortcomings. 

I won’t spoil the book for you by revealing which of her suitors Lady Elizabeth chooses, but I will say that although Lady Elizabeth is one of the least romantic female leads I’ve ever personally encountered, the romance that develops almost painfully slowly over the course of the book is delicious.  It will remind you more of an Austen romance than even a Heyer romance.

I find myself returning to Lady Elizabeth’s Comet  when I’m burned out on trite or trope-filled Traditional Regencies, or just want a great example of everything that is wonderful about the Traditional Regency genre.

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Quick Goodreads Review: Curricle & Chaise by Lizzie Church

Curricle & Chaise by Lizzie Church
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Synopsis (edited):

…Of course, it was entirely natural that two young ladies of 19 and 7 would feel bereft at the loss of their mama, but to Miss Lydia and Miss Susan Barrington their change in circumstances demanded a total and somewhat painful adjustment to their whole way of life…
…It is 1810. Lydia, now penniless, is forced to seek a home with an aunt and uncle who have no interest in her whatsoever. But there are plenty of others with an interest in her – including the handsome but selfish son of the family – her cousin Charles – and two elegant brothers who live nearby.
Each, in his own way, poses an intriguing challenge to her. Luckily Lydia is well able to look after herself but she gets into a number of scrapes which almost cost her any chance of happiness before finally managing to sort things out in the end…

Fans of Regency romances and Jane Austen alike will appreciate the author’s effort, if not the actual execution.

Like the traditional Regency romance, “Curricle & Chaise” features a warm romance that’s a pull and tug for most of the book. Like a Jane Austen book, the story features a large ensemble cast and continuous play on the manners of the Regency period.

However, the book is neither fish nor fowl as far as Regency or Jane Austen clone goes. Although the language is spot-on for an Austen-alike, as is the soliloquy-and-dialogue-heavy structure, the story itself too light and frothy to mimic the insight of Austen. As a Regency, it falls flat, with little to no action to move the story along  — it reveals itself almost painfully as a self-published title during the middle section, which could have used some judicious editing.

Still, the book’s a pleasant, if unmemorable read for those who enjoy period-correct Regency-set historicals.

Curricle & Chaise

Lizzie Church

Amazon Digital Services, January 2012

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